People applying to immigrate to the U.S. will have to show that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of a required medical exam. This new policy by the USCIS takes effect from October 1, 2021. The USCIS mandates an immigration medical examination for permanent residence applicants, or other applicants if deemed fit. The USCIS authorizes eligible physicians as civil surgeons to perform the designated medical examination for these applicants. These applicants will now be required to complete and submit their COVID-19 vaccine series (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) report by filling Form I-693 before the medical examination. This is not applicable to applications for immigrant visas administered by the Department of State through U.S. consular posts outside the U.S.


Though there are some other vaccinations already mandated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made the COVID-19 vaccine an additional vaccine for immigration applicants. However, the vaccine is not mandatory and exceptions may be provided to individuals who fall under the category of “Not Medically Appropriate”. This exemption applies to:


  1. Vaccine is not age-appropriate.

  2. Shortage of the vaccine in the home country.

  3. Pregnancy or extreme health issues.

  4. Non-availability of vaccines in the state where the civil surgeon performs the examination.


Individuals can also acquire a waiver from this new rule based on religious or moral convictions by a formal request using Form I-601.

Anoushka Mehta

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